The Bone Collector Movie Review

Call me crazy, but I'm dead certain I saw the Transamerica Pyramid (in San Francisco) in the opening scene of The Bone Collector, which is otherwise set in New York. In fact, this film, about a cab driver who kidnaps and murders his passengers, might have been better suited to a S.F. setting, where a cab driver recently kidnapped and murdered his passenger.

Small world. Art imitates life.

The Bone Collector presents us with the strange case of Lincoln Rhyme (Washington) a crack NYPD forensics officer and prolific crime author. Enter young protege Amelia (Jolie), when Rhyme is busted, er, paralyzed on the job. Immobilized in his apartment, rookie Amelia is sent out to be Lincoln's eyes and ears when our murderous cabbie goes on a killing spree, carefully leaving clues for the cops.

So is The Bone Collector something we'd really call art? As a moody and visceral experience, it isn't bad. Mind you, I'm not going to have any nightmares tonight, but Collector has its moments. Not that I'm giving those points for originality: A hodgepodge of The Silence of the Lambs and Copycat, The Bone Collector is as derivative as they come.

But at least both are good movies. Could've been a lot worse.

What about the spook factor? As a thriller, The Bone Collector rarely rises above a moderate level of anxiety. A few tense scenes are driven by sudden audio tricks and spooky music, but rarely is it driven by the plot, and rarer still does anything come of all the hubbub.

Figuring out whodunit is an exercise in futility, too. I was sure the trailer gave it away, but no: A ridiculous and unforgivable climax is tacked on to the picture. Plus there's the obligatory denouement and awkward attraction scenes (which are particularly bizarre given that Rhyme is paralyzed from the neck down).

Ultimately, The Bone Collector is not a bad film, and it's better than some of the tepid thrillers like Double Jeopardy we've seen this year. Crime story fans will enjoy the picture. And those who don't like crime stories will be fascinated the entire two hours just by staring at Angelina Jolie's enormous, oversized lips.

No bones about it.


The Bone Collector Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 1999


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